I changed the way I dressed because career girls don’t wear bustiers and mini skirts to work. I wanted to look the part. I thought: if I look the part, then that’s a good start. Fake it til you make it. During the interview, I hadn’t been asked about my college education, which was a relief. It’s not that my resume was false – I had studied business at Laney for two years, but after two years of barely attending classes I dropped out and didn’t earn my AA. Despite that, I had gotten the job, and after a few months of proving myself, I felt like I was starting to fit in. I was acting the part, with my practical yet cute black pumps and the knee length hems on all my dresses. I tried not to think about the ways in which I didn’t belong, the ways in which I wasn’t like my colleagues. I mean, not having a degree is probably the first way in which I’m different mostly everyone else in this profession, but also despite my best efforts I don’t think I really dress the part. It’s obvious that I’m trying a bit too hard. Maybe I should socialize with other working professionals a bit more, but for some reason, I don’t find that to be the most scintillating pursuit. Eh, what can I say, I’ve never really much been one for tolerating liberal after work pseudo-political conversation. I find myself relegated more to plotting and scheming in the most amoral yet also politically radical way possible. I get that we’re all here making money, but I’m doing it because I believe in the hustle, not because I believe in the system. But enough of that – I’m not supposed to think thoughts like that as I smile and traipse my way through this nine-to-five. I’m trying to fit in, which seems like a paramount effort giving my disinclination to belonging. Of course, I remind myself that maybe I should help myself to a bigger feeling of entitlement when it comes to my place in this new professional workscape and that squeezing myself into social acceptance by way of pretending to agree with everyone about everything might not be the most important thing for my professional success. The only reason I think this is because I look around at all the men who have been successful before me, and, you know what? They’re able to do so much “socially unacceptable” bullshit and still be the most successful people in the room, so why can’t I do that, too? I just watched that Brett Kavanaugh interview, you know, the one where the Supreme Court nominee defends himself against accusations of attempted rape, and his words really rang true to me:
This is a circus. The consequences will extend long past my nomination. The consequences will be with us for decades. This grotesque and coordinated character assassination will dissuade competent and good people of all political persuasions, from serving our country…I will not be intimidated into withdrawing from this process. You’ve tried hard. You’ve given it your all. No one can question your effort, but your coordinated and well-funded effort to destroy my good name and to destroy my family will not drive me out. The vile threats of violence against my family will not drive me out. You may defeat me in the final vote, but you’ll never get me to quit. Never…
I read that and thought, damn, I feel insecure about my professional standing? This guy is a creep and has been exposed on a national level, but people give him a chance to spout off this kind of bullshit? This is their mentality, really? And it works for them?! Sure, this is how racism and sexism and violence and transphobia seem to perpetuate in this country: that exact sentiment fuels their drive to take over this entire fucking country. Which made me realize, well, isn’t that inspirational? Shouldn’t I take that to heart, too?
Well, dear sir, if anyone steps to me, I will let them know: this is a circus. You’ll never get me to quit. Might as well use it to perpetuate my own agenda and sense of belonging even when I know I don’t truly fit in. Because to exclude me – well, that’s a fucking circus act.